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Team expectations template: an essential tool to create transparency and alignment


June 5, 2023


June 16, 2023

Leaders too often assume that their team members know precisely what is expected from them. Yet, a lack of transparent communication about rules and expectations is one of the top reasons for employee disengagement

Sharing expectations with their team by setting clear guidelines is as crucial as acknowledging their needs. The best solution is to encourage managers to create a team expectation template. It acts as a reference point for both leaders and team members and includes employee performance expectations, tools and methodology procedures, flexible work policies, etc. All intend to explain what is required from workers in their roles and as a coworker. 

This article gives specific work expectations examples and valuable tips to establish a useful support tool for your workforce. Don’t have time to create your own template or don’t know where to start? You’ll find a downloadable team expectations template PDF at the end of this blog post! We hope it helps you build a transparent and efficient work environment that boosts your team’s satisfaction and performance!

What is a team expectations template?

A team expectations template is a guideline that describes the roles and responsibilities of team members. It varies from employee expectations which are more focused on the role of each person in the company as an individual. Setting transparent practices for your team makes everyone accountable for their tasks and behaviors.

As we are about to explain, team expectations guidelines cover multiple aspects of the work environment. This reference point tells employees what is expected from them and establishes a clear foundation for better collaboration and efficiency. Thus, it plays a crucial part in the success of your team.

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co-workers working on computers
Team working together in the office.

What work expectations examples should appear on your template?

To make your team expectations template clear to understand and help employees find the info they look for quickly, we recommend classifying it by category, like the following. 

We share essential points with you, but of course, it all depends on your needs and expectations. The goal is to make it yours!

Employee performance expectations

A Gallup study about employees’ expectations from their leaders reveals that “72% of millennials who strongly agree that their manager helps them establish performance goals are engaged”. Therefore, setting performance goals is key to your strategy to make your staff thrive as a team.

How each member performs influences the entire dynamic and the whole team's success. Setting performance expectations that benefit the whole team is essential. Moreover, focusing on finding each worker’s strengths and helping them to master these skills also contributes to the overall success of the team. 

Flexible work conditions

There are many examples of flexibility at work, and it is crucial for your employees to know which options are allowed. Moreover, being really specific and clear about what is permitted and expected regarding the flexible work arrangements you’ve chosen is fundamental. Everybody should be entitled to the same advantages, and the introduction of more work flexibility shouldn't negatively impact employees’ ways of working.

Here are a few examples of team expectations toward flexible work: 

  • Coming on-site at least X days per week is mandatory.
  • Splitting days between in-office and remote work is authorized.
  • Scheduling changes should be done via the desk booking software up to 24h in advance.

Tools and methodology requirements

Everyone works differently, and this is why flexible work is a great solution to make everyone thrive. Yet, some rules are necessary to make a hybrid work environment work when it comes to working as a team. Employees need to understand clearly why a certain approach is prioritized more than another. They should also have a clear idea about the resources and tools they are supposed to use and how to make the best out of them.

Tools and methodology requirements might include:

  • booking the workspace you need as soon as possible is requested to avoid scheduling conflicts;
  • sharing any key information and updates with the team on the right Slack channel is expected. 
  • regularly sharing constructive and positive feedback on the online feedback tool is required. 

Collective code of conduct

Everyone has different opinions, values, and visions. But at work, people need to have clear guidelines about the behaviors expected in the workplace and among team members. The company’s values are part of these rules. However, managers can also add their own touch according to what they want to promote in their team (as long as it matches the company's values, of course).

For example, your collective code of conduct might promote the following: 

  • sharing knowledge and lifting each other up;
  • being considerate and respectful of everyone’s traits of characters and needs;
  • fostering trust, transparency, and genuine relationships among the team;
  • being supportive of others and asking for help when needed.

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team at a meeting
Hybrid team discussing code of conduct

How to make sure team expectations are acknowledged and followed?

Set up the team expectations collectively

Most of the time, leaders know what they require from their team members. But to foster an employee-centric approach and create a positive working environment, asking for their staff’s perspective is essential. As an HR manager, you must highlight this step to other leaders. 

Having a shared conversation and setting up a team expectations template collectively can give them a different insight into some aspects. They might realize one of their expectations isn’t precise enough or unrealistic. For example, a manager might consider that increasing the number of impressions on the website by 5% every month is reasonably doable. At the same time, employees have information that proves that this expectation is quite unrealistic. Then, some adjustments can be made to improve it. Moreover, doing this collectively also strengthens relationships with the team as workers feel that their opinions and needs are considered too.

Communicate clearly 

We’ll never say it enough, communication is key. But transparent communication should be your top goal as a team leader. Therefore, sharing your expectations clearly is fundamental. Adapting your way of communicating with the person in front of you is essential for your message to be acknowledged. Also, your guideline must be as specific as possible so team members quickly understand your expectations and responsibilities. 

Ask your team members to read and sign the team expectations form

Managers can ask their coworkers to sign the team expectations template form to make it official and get everyone on the same page. This way, confusion, misunderstanding, and misinterpretation are less likely to happen. People also tend to read and pay more attention to the content of a document when they have to put their signature on it. This action represents a form of agreement that creates alignment and clarity for everyone. 

Make the team expectations template accessible to everyone at all times

Employees should be able to refer to your team expectations template at any time, whether physically or digitally. You can share it with all team members in various ways:

  • saving it on your online file-sharing platform;
  • placing it somewhere in the office;
  • sending it via e-mail;
  • etc.

👉 Important note: also consider making access to this resource inclusive. For example, you need to translate it into braille if you work with visually-impaired people. 

Update your team expectations template regularly (not every month, though!)

Last but not least, as much as your employees’ expectations (what your team expects from you and the workplace) evolve rapidly, your expectations can change too. Discussing and informing your team about it is crucial. But this also means that your team's expectations forms need to be updated. 

Of course, you shouldn’t modify it every five seconds and ask your employees to read and sign it every time. This would be annoying for everyone. But every six months, for example, you can go through it and see if any of your requirements have changed.

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Two men having a meeting
Leader managing expectations with employee

Why is having a team expectations template useful?

Helps both managers and team members to be aligned

One of the main advantages of using a team expectations template is that it removes the potential blurry line between what is expected and what isn’t. Creating this reference document together enables all team members to be on the same page. It gives them a clearer vision of their roles and responsibilities. Leaders can explicitly share their expectations, and employees know what they are supposed to do and are accountable for their tasks.

Avoids confusion and frustration among team members

Do your employees know what your expectations are? Studies show that many workers don’t really know what is expected from them. This lack of transparency creates confusion and frustration, directly affecting employee experience and satisfaction. 

However, when people know what they are entitled to do and what their role implies, they are much more efficient and engaged. They don’t wonder if they should do this or not, everything is crystal clear. If you tell them you expect them to take initiative, they do it without hesitation. 

On a bigger scale, it saves so much brain energy, improves performance, and boosts productivity.

Contributes to creating a fair and positive work environment

Allowing some employees to work from home whenever they want while others are authorized to work remotely only on Mondays seems pretty unfair. The same goes when some people are entitled to enjoy flexitime while others must stick to a fixed work schedule. 

These are just two examples of how a team expectations template can create a better working atmosphere. Setting the same rules for everyone makes your work environment fairer and more equal. It avoids any biased practices.

Boosts employee efficiency and productivity

Giving team members straightforward best practices and codes of conduct to follow removes any type of confusion. Ultimately, it helps boost efficiency and productivity. The idea of having everyone following the same rules and ways of working can enhance these aspects too. However, stay flexible. 

You need to find the right balance between implementing a clear guideline to have everyone on the same page and leaving some room for innovative ideas and fresh perspectives. Staying open to new approaches and practices is essential to grow and succeed as a team.

🔗 As promised, we are at the end of this article, and here is a team expectations template PDF to download. You’ll find classic examples of team expectations, don’t hesitate to make it yours by adding your own touch!

It is essential to encourage managers to create and use a team expectations template with their coworkers. It enables them to clearly understand their roles and responsibilities while avoiding the rise of frustration and disengagement. Yet, it isn’t the only component to achieving goals and making workers thrive. Considering employees’ expectations is fundamental too. If your workforce mainly includes people born after 1981, we highly recommend you read our articles about Millennials’ characteristics and what is Gen Z’s known for

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Team expectations template: an essential tool to create transparency and alignment

Paulyne Sombret

Paulyne is a highly respected expert in hybrid work. She's known for her writing on sustainability in the hybrid office, flexible work models, and employee experience. With a strong background in content and SEO, her work explores the exciting trends and latest news in the world of work.

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